Fostering Expansive and Connective Sensemaking with Preservice Secondary Science Teachers

Preservice secondary science teachers often experience science learning in narrow and marginalizing ways in their science preparation. These experiences cause harm, particularly for preservice teachers of color. They also limit the disciplinary resources they can develop for later teaching science in ways that value and sustain their students' ways of knowing and being in the world. Our research explores possibilities for cultivating new spaces for preservice secondary science teachers to engage in science. In a content-focused education course, we designed for and studied preservice teachers' engagement in expansive and connective sensemaking, incorporating heterogeneity, power, and historicity in pursuits of explanatory accounts of the natural world. In this article, we examined how this course design can support preservice teachers to attune to heterogeneity in ways of knowing in science and to connect to identity and historicity in scientific sensemaking. Our analysis suggests that students' final projects reflected attunements to diverse knowing, communicating, and relating in science and deep connections with their identities and future-making, yet had fewer connections to sociohistorical narratives and structures. We developed illustrative case studies of four student projects, highlighting the personal, social, and political possibilities of creating space for future educators to imagine more expansive and connective forms of science. This study contributes a novel model for preservice science teacher education to support teacher learning to value and sustain their students' ways of knowing and being in the world.

Watkins, J., De Lucca, N. A., & Pao, S. R. (2023). Fostering expansive and connective sensemaking with preservice secondary science teachers. Journal of Research in Science Teaching.